Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Peruvian Roast Chicken with Aji Verde Chili Sauce


Knowing how risk averse I am when it comes to trying new recipes, I was rather surprised that I made this Peruvian Roast Chicken. But hey, it's chicken. I'll go anywhere with chicken.

Honestly, it was that big juicy chicken thigh on page 200 of Nom Nom Paleo : Food for Humans that got me interested. Here, see for yourself.


And that Aji Verde Chili Sauce is a curious thing. Green minty sauce. Nope, I have never had anything like that before.

Aji Verde Chili Sauce. I love the color.

For such an exotic recipe, the ingredients are easily available right here in my kitchen. Among the marinade ingredients are black pepper, cumin, smoked paprika and oregano. I got to work immediately as soon as I laid my hands on a chicken. My only regret is that the chicken was small. It didn't look that small at the supermarket.



I did not have dried oregano but I have fresh ones in my garden. So I just minced the oregano and mixed it all up with the other ingredients. Then I smothered the chicken with the aromatic marinade. The marinade is also spread under the chicken skin. I was really giving this chicken a good rub down with both my hands. If anyone had called me or rung my doorbell at this point, sorry, they will be ignored. 

Not a pretty sight. In Terengganu-speak we say "kakang soyok". Sorry, no translation available.
By the way, the chicken is spatchcocked i.e. backbone removed and laid flat like what you see above. Actually I forgot to make an incision in the cartilage of the breastbone and my chicken was not exactly laid flat out. I only realized that when I put it in the oven. The breast was almost touching the roof of the oven.


I had to slide the tray out of the oven to perform surgery when I accidentally grabbed the hot oven rack. Arrrghh..xxxx!!!!! I don't usually use that word but I have been watching Dexter re-runs. Debra Morgan is not exactly a good role model in the conversation department. There were no ice-cubes in the freezer and I had to grab on to something cold. Ah! Chilli sauce bottle! 

Substitute for a cold pack.
Back to business. I used my kitchen scissors to cut through the top of the breastbone and pressed the chicken down to flatten it. Back into the oven. And 40 minutes later, my chicken was done.


While the chicken was resting, I had to prepare the Aji Verde sauce. But hang on a second. The recipe didn't say what kind of basil (Italian?). I only have Vietnamese basil and since the recipe uses mint and cilantro, it can't hurt to use our Asian basil. All my ingredients were in place except for Jalapeno peppers, so there is no chili in my Aji Verde Chilli Sauce.


The recipe uses a little bit of everything and I am not good with little bits. I used more than the recommended amounts (about double) and I have no regrets whatsoever. After transferring the sauce from the blender into a container, I tentatively licked the spatula. Mmmmm!!! I love this green sauce! It smells so refreshing and is salty and tangy. Really lovely, you must try it! Which led to a spatula licking frenzy.


The roasted chicken by itself is already so delicious. Aromatic, spicy and smokey. And dipped in the Aji Verde sauce, it is simply eye-popping. No, I am not exaggerating.  It is really that good. I am actually thinking of making this roast chicken and the green sauce again. Can't get enough of it!


I am sharing the recipe below from Nom Nom Paleo : Food for Humans and if you are interested in exploring delicious Paleo friendly diets, I highly recommend this book. It is a breeze to read as the author, Michelle Tam makes it light and witty. 

As usual, I did not follow the recipe exactly in terms of the amounts used. I upped some favorite ingredients and substituted or omitted those that I did not have on hand. After all, recipes are only a guide, to ensure that you only put about 1/2 a cup of mayonnaise instead of half a jar :) Have fun.











Peruvian Roast Chicken
Recipe source : Adapted from Nom Nom Paleo : Food for Humans (page 202)
My notes and adaptations in red

- 1 whole chicken (4lbs/about 2kg)

Marinade :
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 3 tablespoons ghee or fat of choice (I used grapeseed oil)
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt (I used sea salt)
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano (I used 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, finely minced)
- finely grated zest and juice from 1 small lime (I used 2)

Method :
1. To make the marinade, mix all the ingredients together and set aside.
2. Remove the backbone of the chicken and make a 1/2 inch incision in the cartilage of the breast bone.
3. Lay the chicken breast-side up and press it down to flatten the chicken.
4. Using your fingers, separate the skin of the chicken from the breast and thigh to create pockets, making sure not to any holes.
5. Spread the marinade under the skin and rub it all over the outside of the chicken.
6. Marinate the chicken in a covered container in the fridge for 6 to 24 hours (I put the chicken into a big freezer bag and left it in the fridge overnight).
7. About an hour before roasting, take the chicken of the fridge to come to room temperature.
8. Preheat oven to 180C and place a wire rack over a lined baking tray. Set the chicken skin side up on top of the wire rack and tuck the wing tips behind the breasts.
9. Roast for 45 minutes or until the breast meat reaches 150F/66C and the thigh meat hits 170F/77C as measured by an instant-read thermometer. (I just poke the thighs with a fork and if the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked).
10. Take the chicken out of the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.














Aji Verde Chilli Sauce
Recipe source : Adapted from Nom Nom Paleo : Food for Humans (page 202)
My notes and adaptations in red

Ingredients :
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped (I omitted)
- 1 scallion (spring onion), roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup Paleo Mayonnaise (I used regular mayonnaise)
- 1/3 cup fresh basil (I used Vietnamese basil)
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/3 cup fresh mint
- 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar (I omitted)
- 1/2 tsp salt (my addition as it is not mentioned in the recipe)

Method :
1. Gently heat olive oil and garlic in a small cast iron skillet over low heat for 2-3 minutes. (Ooops! I missed this step!)
2. Once the garlic is fragrant and the oil bubbles, take the skillet off the heat and turn off the stove.
3. Blitz all the remaining aji verde chili sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender until well combined. Then add the garlicky oil and blend until smooth.
4. The sauce can be made ahead of time and kept covered in a container in the fridge for a few days.




This post is linked to Cook-Your-Books #17 hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.

48 comments:

  1. 1) Peruvian 2) Aji Verde
    Both sounds interesting, and of course, new to me.. I straight scroll down to the ingredients to make the sauce, and I can see the main stuffs are basil, cilantro & mint.. Looks like mint yogurt from your picture, I bet it taste refreshing..
    Back to (my favourite) roast chicken, I don't buy whole chicken to roast.. I don't know how to "lay them flat" as I assume I would need to use the scissors and cut those cartilages like you, etc.. For me and hubby (and picky eater Kz), I always buy half a chicken, cut into 4 pieces.. Easier to manage..
    The ingredients for the roast chicken marinade looks simple and full of flavours.. I see ghee, paprika, cumin, oregano, wow, "hou yau mei", I like.. If me, I think I'd just stick to Kikoman+Italian mixed herbs.. I can finish your entire roast chicken Phong Hong, really (without rice)..

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    1. Hi Louiz! I actually prefer to just use chicken legs, It is much easier to handle and also that is my favourite part of the chicken. I don't like chicken breast. But sometimes I do roast the whole chicken as it looks nicer for presentation. I think you will like this roast chicken and the sauce, I know lah...your stomach capacity is very big hah..hah....

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  2. ah, this chicken has a very glamorous name and it surely looks very tempting and delicious!! the color is so inviting, the perfect brown with some herbs on top.. and must mention the Aji Verde chili sauce without a miss.. I love the color too!! initially expecting to see something red, but came out its green and the color looks so appetizing indeed!! yummy yummy!!

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    1. Hi SK! The name is very exotic and at first I also did not expect a green chilli sauce. But the taste is really good.

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  3. yeah I would agree with you they the roast chicken itself looks delicious enough.. whether with the Aji Verde chili sauce or just the Thai sweet chili sauce, it'll taste as good, of course in a slightly different style huh?? :)

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    1. This roast chicken won't go with Thai chilli sauce, the taste will clash. The Thai chilli sauce you see in the photo is just for me to cool my hand hah..hah... Lately, I don't seem to like Thai chilli sauce. Don't know why :(

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  4. I can see why you love this roast chicken, I would lick the screen too if I could taste it :D Looks really good! That sauce looks fab and could go with other roast meat too I bet.

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    1. Hi Jeannie! The sauce is good and would be nice with roasted pork too :)

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  5. From the look of the chicken, i loves it and i can eat it without rice... hehe...

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    1. Sharon, can eat like a caveman hee..hee...

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  6. Hi Phong Hong, your roast chicken recipes are always so tempting. This sauce must be very aromatic with mint and cilantro and tasty with mayo. Another added to my Must Do list of roast chicken.Faster way is to grab a piece from you, hehehe!

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    1. Hi Kimmy! Too bad you are so far away, or else I'll give you some to sample hee..hee...

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  7. Golden crispy chicken !! I like !

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    1. Chris, most people will like this too :)

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  8. I love the way the chicken legs are spread... looks so feminine..hahahaha... PH, with you cooking like this often, I am sure your neighbours will be drooling each time the fragrance "flew" over to their house... I surely will !!

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    1. Hi Claire! hah..hah... the chicken tak senonoh :D

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  9. Your photos sure looks yummier than the one in the book! *drool*

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  10. Aloha Phong Hong, I'm back to blogging for a short while to support this month's LTU, hahaha! Miss me or not? Sorry that I haven't been visiting everyone now. Honestly, if I don't update my blog, I hardly leave a message on everyone's blog. So good to see this roast chicken here, coz I LOVE ROAST CHICKEN!

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    1. Hi Jessie! Aiya, of course I miss you lah! Happy to see you supporting this month's LTU. Don't worry about not visiting, I understand. Anyway, hope to see updates from you even if it is not as often as before. Take care!

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  11. at first i thought u are sharing the TTDI Taman Tun ismail Peruvian chicken shop (cannot recall the full name now); LOL this is trully another lovely dish i would like to bookmark!

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    1. Hi LEY! Geez, I didn't know there is a Peruvian chicken shop in TTDI hah..hah...

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  12. Discovered your blog recently. Your cakes look so inviting (I can't bake for the life of me). Peruvian chicken...sounds exotic! It looks amazing by the way...and the food photography even more impressive (like straight from a cookbook).

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    1. Hi ewew! Thank you for your very kind compliments. I know you cook and this recipe is very straightforward and hassle free. Do try it!

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    2. I would love to try but I know how to cook very simple dishes only. Plus, worst still, I don't how to chop up a whole chicken, so I usually cook a chopped up part only...like a chicken leg ;)

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  13. That picture (from that cookbook) indeed can makes one go really hungry just by looking at it. That sauce sounds really good too. Thank you for sharing Phong Hong

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    1. Hi Mel! Yes, that photo was what tempted me as the chicken thigh looks so big and juicy ha..ha..

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  14. Your chicken looks so tasty. Nando also loses to you. I like your green sauce too as it sounds very refreshing and tangy. You truly have recovered fully!

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    1. Thanks, Mun! Yes, all recovered and eating well ha..ha...

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  15. Oh there's no 'cloves of garlic' to decorate this sexy chicken .... I'm with Kimmy that your roast chicken recipes are special and tempting. Ha ha .. I really wish that I'm your neighbourhood as I can have all the yummy chicken breast meat ^-^!

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    1. Karen, I would gladly give you the chicken breast because that is my least favourite part of the chicken LOL!

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  16. That looks awesome. Chili sauce looks like wasabi, green colour. If it tastes luike that, no, thank you, no fan of wasabi...but I'll have the chicken. One coming right up in my post tomorrow. Hehehehehe!!!!

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    1. No, no, not like wasabi at all! Only the colour is similar but the taste is worlds apart :)

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  17. I also agak agak cook, you also agak agak cook, how come your end result looks so spectacular one??
    I'm going to read that book, as you may have noticed, I love to try exotic recipes without nearly enough preparations :D

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    1. RG, you must have all the ingredients then only it will look nice. Maybe you should buy the McCormick ready made mix for roasting chicken. That way you don't have to buy the individual components. They have many flavours including Smoked Hickory for grilling/roasting ribs. Just mix the seasoning with oil and rub on the meat and you are good to go :)

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  18. wow PH, I want this for my dinner leh... lol

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    1. Jess, can roast it this weekend! nom nom!

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  19. Replies
    1. Diana, I can't wait for your LTU theme : Chicken! Whoo hoo!

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  20. Hi Phong Hong,
    My goodness! I wish I could grab that chicken right off the screen! And the green herby sauce! Ooooh.... I know that I would love it a lot, as I love sauces like this! Delicious gorgeous meal!

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    1. Hi Joyce! Yes, this is one delicious roast chicken with very tasty green sauce. Took me by surprise and that is why it is always good to be adventurous and try new things! Well, many thanks to Cook Your Books!

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  21. both the pics of the chicken in your post and book makes people hungry la! your pictures justify the tastiness of the chicken, yum yum!

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    1. Lena, cakap serupa bikin hee..hee..

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  22. Hi phong hong. Tried this recipe n my family gave a thumbs up. :) thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Madeline! I am so glad to hear that :)

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  23. Phong Hong, great job with the 'butterly' method you used for the chicken! Never tried any Paleo recipe, which happens to be a 'unique' way of eating, and very healthy, as well. Love the roasted chicken, and the amazing sauce, as well!

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    1. Thank you, Elisabeth! It is quite hard to follow the Paleo eating plan due to unavailability of certain ingredients like coconut flour and gluten free products. I basically stick to a low carb plan.

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